Developer: Arc System Works
Publisher: Arc System Works
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Action & Role-Playing
Release Date: 25th of January, 2018 (Worldwide)
The world is in ruin. Visitors from another world have invaded and wiped out the majority of the human race. It is now up to you to restore balance and destroy the invaders once and for all!
Originally released on the PlayStation Vita, back in 2014, Fantasy Hero: Unsigned Legacy is an RPG Hack and Slash game much like any other. It has been brought back for a second life on the Nintendo Switch which, has now become a hive for both AAA & Indie titles alike. Developed and Published by Arc System Works, FH:UL (As I shall now refer the game as) received a myriad of mixed reviews but none were particularly revered or held the game highly. Understandable when the PS Vita already had its fair share of RPG’s before this game came around so “yet another RPG” was just not going to hack it this time. So now that it is on the Nintendo Switch, I guess it is our turn to review Fantasy Hero -Unsigned Legacy-.
There is a saying that most films and plays these days are restructured or retold story-lines based or inspired by the works of the great Wordsmith, William Shakespeare himself. The same can be said for RPG story-lines as well and FH:UL is no different. The world the main protagonist calls home is invaded by species from another planet or dimension and most of humanity has been wiped out by their hand. These beings known as the Decoders are like anthropomorphic creatures based on cats, elephants, mushrooms, chickens, wolves, etc. What remains of the human race has gone into hiding, living in caves and other dwellings far from the reach of the Decoders but it is only a matter of time before the Decoders eventually find them.
You will be given the choice between four protagonists; Acress Breathbeat the young swordsman, Mask the Shout the masked luchador, Haul Keeling the winged marksman?! and Ashta Little Husky the robot mechanic extraordinaire. Though the game focuses on Acress during the story cut-scenes. Side mission cut-scenes tend to focus on your actual character. After the initial opening cut-scene of what happened 12 years ago, you will be taken to modern day. Acress is training in his room when he is then alerted of Gram’s arrival. When meeting with Gram (which is an old name for someone who doesn’t look much older than the main protagonist who is just a teen), you are introduced to the main protagonists that of which you will only be playing as one as for the duration of the game.
So Gram and Mask were out on their travels when they rescued the mysterious birdman named Haul Keeling. He has aided them for the rest of their travels and was brought back to the dwelling the human resistance has been hiding. Ashta the young mechanic doesn’t trust the birdman to start with, nor does Acress but theyare told that they must all get along. Gram then gives each of the four something called the Hero Artes (thats not a mistype) which makes the user stronger and can use special skills that can help them defeat the decoders. You will then be tasked to put them to good use.
Little do they know, in the base of the decoders. A giant bird creature known as Roud Mota is planning a strange ceremony that will cause something of an unknown nature but is lacking a component that will help him achieve his goal. What the component happens to be is not divulged until some part later in the game. He sends his accomplice Oblis Fortegarde to find the component. The four heroes cross paths with Oblis Fortegarde but after defeating the heroes, Oblis leaves, much to their dismay. The heroes learn that they must be stronger and that the Hero Artes does not make them invincible.
Graphically, the game is pleasant but you won’t be thinking “Wow!” anytime soon. It is colourful but reminiscent of games from the PlayStation 1 & 2 era, like a remastered Final Fantasy VII whilst still maintianing the original character models. There is a very noticeable black outline around each of the characters which, makes sense when looking on the smaller screen of the PS Vita as it helps highlight your character from the background but when on the Switch, it is unnecessary and a bit ugly.
The soundtrack of the game is entertaining and upbeat but the sound effects for the enemies are atrocious. One in particular makes an “Neyeow” sound which after a while grates on the nerves so much, you actually feel a macabre satisfaction when you kill it because it can no longer make that annoying sound. Another annoyance that I have is the voice acting, Being a typical Japanese RPG, it has the stereotypical overreacting that seems to have become a staple for this genre. It always sounds like everyone is shouting at each other all the time and you find yourself skipping all the cut-scenes just so you don’t have to listen to the voice acting.
Being the hack and slash RPG that it is, FH:UL is all about the grind. Defeating enemies repetitively until you gain enough experience to level up and earn skill points to upgrade your stats, just so you can fight tougher enemies. Like I mentioned before, you can choose one of four characters, each with their own unique move sets. Unfortunately, there is no swapping between characters so once you have made your choice, you can only play with that character for the rest of the game. You do have 4 different save files so you can still play as the other protagonists just not on the same adventure. This can be a bit of a drag but there is a feature in the game that allows you to use items that you have found on other playthroughs. When your main inventory is full, items you pick up during missions are sent to the chest in your room back at the base. The contents of the chest is accessible through the other game saves so it gives you an advantage when starting afresh with other players. You can use these items to strengthen your other characters and enhance/upgrade their weapons much earlier on in their playthroughs.
The cave that the resistance calls home is the main hub and is where you can purchase items, enhance and upgrade weapons and accept missions. There are 3 main types of missions; Main Missions, Side Missions and Ex Missions. Main Missions are the main story arc and are obligatory in order to progress the story. Side missions are to help you gain experience by completing objectives like protect an NPC or wipe out waves of enemies. Ex missions are for those that like even more challenge and are normally recommended for those of a higher level. The pay off of course is more experience and more rewarding items, materials and weapons.
I guess I should probably talk about controls? To be fair, they are okay. The left joystick controls movement and the left directional buttons navigate through the menus. It must be said , that when you access the in-game menus, you don’t actually pause the game so you do need to be careful if surrounded by enemies or if there are enemies in the vicinity because it only takes a few seconds to take your eye off the ball, even if to use healing items and the enemies will completely waste your life. This becomes more irritable as there are no check points on missions, meaning if you fail, you will have to do the whole mission again. You can however, use a quick menu where you can add skills and items for faster access.
Depending on the character you have chosen, you have two types of attack, a weak attack and a strong attack. The sharpshooter character Haul for example doesn’t have a strong attack. Instead the strong attack button is used to reload his guns instead. Your character can also use various skills that you have unlocked to do extra damage and these rely on your stamina bar. If your stamina bar is depleted, you will not be able to use your skills but much like your health, you can use items to replenish your stamina so you can keep up the good fight.
Fantasy Hero -Unsigned Legacy- is one of these games that tries to do its best but doesn’t really offer anything new to the table. The overreacting of the voice actors, the repetitive gameplay of endless hacking and slashing and a story that has promise but fails to deliver a decent plot, does leave the player with a bad taste in their mouth. Enemy movements are predictable and even the weakest of enemies can take a good while before being put down for good. The missions all seem to take place on the same forest map and only sometimes take place on other terrains.
I went into this game with half a mind and came out with still half a mind. For an RPG, there are worse ones out there. Saying that though, there are a lot of good ones out there too. So if you are looking at this game as a cheaper alternative to a more popular title, you will only be cheating yourself. For only $9.99 on the eShop, you should maintain an open mind if you are looking to pick this up. It will not Wow your socks off but if you let it, it can mildly entertain you for a few hours. Fantasy Hero: Unsigned Legacy is a pleasant enough experience but it is not going to be a memorable one. To be fair, this review will probably take more of your time than what you are willing to put into the game itself.
If you can look beyond the graphics of yesteryear, the monotonous tones of the enemies, the poor voice acting and the aimless grind to make you just a little bit stronger which, won’t matter anyway as you will still be unfairly outnumbered as you progress in the game. You may actually be able to enjoy Fantasy Hero: Unsigned Legacy. Though if you think you might be better of playing something else instead, we certainly wouldn’t blame you.
The Verdict: 5/10
*Review Key Provided by Arc System Works